The Rangers are playing very good hockey and they’ll need to continue to play with confidence when they travel to Philadelphia for two vital games (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersEast Division Ranks /8Flyers
6th  East Ranking5th

               The Blueshirts are starting to heat up and play some of their best hockey of the season thus far. The Rangers have won three of their past four games and have gotten nine out of a possible twelve points in their last six games. The Rangers should feel confident against the Flyers having beaten them 9-0 just eight days ago during Knoblauch’s first game as acting head coach. Philadelphia was embarrassed and the Blueshirts should know that Thursday night’s game won’t be as easy.

               “We couldn’t defend and we couldn’t make a play,” said Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault following the 9-0 thrashing. “I am truly embarrassed.”

               Philadelphia is still in shambles having lost three-in-a-row and having won just four games out of 13 in the month of March. Their defense is allowing a lot of quality scoring chances and their goaltenders are not giving them a chance to win. The Flyers, who were once in a playoff spot, have slipped to fifth and now only sit one game ahead of the Rangers. If New York could win both meetings, they’ll jump them in the standings and be on the outside looking in.

               The Blueshirts will be getting a boost as starting netminder Igor Shesterkin is scheduled to get the start. Shesterkin had missed the past ten games since suffering a groin strain in a 6-1 victory against the Devils.

               “He’s (Shesterkin) 100% and we’re excited to have him back,” Knoblauch said.

               Knoblauch will remain as the acting head coach for at least one more game as head coach David Quinn and his staff remain on the COVID protocol list. Knoblauch could remain in charge for one or both games on the weekend depending on the circumstances regarding the Rangers coaching staff. Knoblauch has won three of four games as acting head coach and he’ll look for a fourth against his former team. The former Philadelphia assistant coach was fired upon the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season and he will return to Philadelphia for the first time since being let go.

               Vitaly Kravtsov is practicing with the team and is very close to making his debut. The 21-year-old Kravtsov is expected to join the Blueshirts top-nine forward group once inserted in the lineup.

               Phillip Di Giuseppe had his cardiac screening on Wednesday. If he passed the screening, he can come off the COVID protocol and join the team in Philadelphia. He won’t play Thursday night.

               Brett Howden would be the only player in the COVID protocol if Di Giuseppe passed the screening. Howden is currently in the middle of a ten-day quarantine period and will be out of the lineup until next week.

Projected Lineup